Chinese Fringe Flower Plant Profile

This dreamy flowering shrub is hardy and easy to grow

A macro shot of pink Chinese fringe flowers (Loropetalum chinense) grown outdoors.

Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

Chinese fringe flowers are evergreen shrubs that are most well-known for their delicate, fragrant flowers that appear every spring. Aside from their gorgeous flowers, the foliage of Chinese fringe flowers is also of interest, changing colors throughout the year from hues of red to deep green. Native to China, Japan, and the Himalayas these showy shrubs have become widely popular thanks to their year-round interest and ease of care. Chinese fringe flowers are also great privacy shrubs and can be successfully used for hedging or topiaries. 

Learn how to grow these gorgeous shrubs and enjoy their beauty year-round.

Botanical Name Loropetalum chinense
Common Name Chinese fringe flower, loropetalum, strap flower
Plant Type Shrub
Mature Size 15' tall (depending on the variety)
Sun Exposure Sun, part-shade
Soil Type Well-draining
Soil pH 4.5 - 6.5
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Pink, red, white, yellow-white
Hardiness Zones 7, 8, 9
Native Area China, Japan
Close up photo of a pink Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense)
 Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

How to Grow Chinese Fringe Flowers

Chinese fringe flowers are considered to be low-maintenance, hardy shrubs. These relatives of the witch-hazel shrub are adaptable to a wide range of light, soil, and moisture conditions.

Chinese fringe flowers are not especially susceptible to any pests or diseases, however, they can fall victim to common pests such as spider mites, and diseases such as anthracnose, mildew, and root rot. Additionally, these showy shrubs are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and children, although if eaten they could cause mild stomach upset so ingesting them is not encouraged.

The gorgeous blooms of Chinese fringe flowers appear in mid-spring, but healthy shrubs can rebloom intermittently throughout the growing season. This shrub remains evergreen in warm regions and is considered a perennial in regions with colder winters.

Light

Grow Chinese fringe flowers in a bright, sunny location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Ideally, these shrubs are protected from intense midday rays but receive dappled morning sun. However, they can tolerate growing in sunny to part-shady conditions.

Soil

Chinese fringe flowers require well-draining, acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil pH between 4.5 to 6.5 is best. To help retain moisture and suppress weeds, mulch around the root ball of a Chinese fringe flower shrub with 2-3 inches of compost, straw, or aged wood chips. 

Water

Once established, Chinese fringe flowers are relatively drought tolerant. However, they grow best when the soil is kept consistently moist. During periods of extreme heat or abnormally long dry spells, Chinese fringe flowers should be watered more frequently 

Temperature and Humidity

Chinese fringe flowers grow best in USDA zones 7 to 9, tolerating winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). However, in regions that experience cold winters, it is recommended that Chinese fringe flowers are planted in areas that protect them from cold winter winds. 

Fertilizer

If they are planted in the right soil, Chinese fringe flowers require little to no supplemental fertilizer once they are established. If desired, established they can benefit from annual fertilizing in early spring with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer - or one that is specially formulated for shrubs.

However, Chinese fringe flowers that are planted in soil that is nutrient-poor will require additional feeding. Amend the soil regularly with organic matter such as compost, grass and leaf clippings, and manure (composted).

Propagating Chinese Fringe Flowers

Chinese fringe flowers can be propagated by softwood cuttings. Take 6-inch cuttings of softwood growth in the spring or summer. Remove the leaves on the bottom 2-3 inches of each cutting, ensuring that at least 2-3 leaves are left on the top. Dip the bottom of the cuttings in a rooting hormone and plant them in a 50/50 mixture of peat and perlite

Place the cuttings in plastic bags that are large enough to not touch the cuttings, and keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Within 4-6 weeks the cuttings should develop roots, although they should not be planted in the garden until the following growing season.

Varieties of Chinese Fringe Flowers

There are many different varieties of Chinese fringe flowers. Popular varieties include:

  • Loropetalum chinense ‘Rubrum’
  • Loropetalum chinense ‘Pizazz’
  • Loropetalum chinense var. Rubrum 'Burgundy’
  • Loropetalum chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’
  • Loropetalum chinense ‘Snowdance’
  • Loropetalum chinense ‘Emerald Snow’
A white Chinese fringe flower variety with light green foliage.
 undefined undefined / Getty Images

Pruning

These shrubs are extremely tolerant of heavy pruning, and many gardeners use them for hedging or topiaries. However, Chinese fringe flowers do not require this type of pruning, and they grow into a naturally graceful shape that many appreciate. The flowers of this adaptable shrub bloom on old wood, so when pruning Chinese fringe flowers it is best to wait until after the blooming period in the summer to early fall.